Last post on Nov 07, 2013 at 7:33 AM
You are in the Toyota Highlander
What is this discussion about?
Toyota Highlander, SUV
#1752 of 5330 Highlander Sales way down
Sep 13, 2004 (6:42 pm)
For all suffering with Toyota's non response to their hesitation problem/safety hazard:
Is the public catching on to Toyota's business philosophy of telling their customers to live with this safety problem? Toyota's August sales were down 2.8% overall (2004 vs 2003), but HIGHLANDER was down 6 times as much (17.3%, nearly 4000 units).
How many of you with the problem are satisfied with their response, and will you buy another Toyota?
#1753 of 5330 Clumsy shifting trans
Sep 13, 2004 (6:51 pm)
Well, Ive got 1200 mi on my 6cyl AWD HL and my trans hasn't learned a thing! Problem is the same - very noticeable and abrupt downshifting and hesitating upshifting. On the downshift into I believe 2nd, it "releases" the engine braking effect and you get less coasting resistance right when you're getting close to the stopped traffic in front of you. You must compensate with increased pressure on the brake pedal. This is clearly a safety issue, too. So, I received correspondence from the GM at Elmhurst Toyota regarding the distateful buying experience I endured. I brought up the HL trans prob in my return letter. Much to my surprise (not really) I was put in touch with the service guys. I too am holding out hope that Toyota will stand behind a clearly crude, intolerable trans that doesn't know what gear it wants to be in. Hopefully, they will put a SW fix on this. In the meantime, I'm just slowly driving this up the chain wishing I had not bought Japanese.
#1754 of 5330 Re: Highlander Sales way down [kads]
Sep 13, 2004 (7:02 pm)
Dealer is giving us the runaround and absoulutely not satisfied with their actions or response to the hesitation problem. I would never consider buying another Toyota because of
experience encountered with Toyota and the dealer. The general rule is "pass the buck" it's easier than doing the right thing. That should be Toyota's motto. We're on our way to arbitration. Will also file a complaint with the state (check your lemon law) Anything that makes Toyota take responsibility for this is worth a try.
#1755 of 5330 Qualified for Arbitration!
Sep 13, 2004 (9:13 pm)
My HL qualified for arbitration due to the delay/hesitation problem here in CA. At this point, that is all I can as to my status. However, I still want to help those who are having problems. Therefore, below is my arbitration letter and I re-posted my earlier post that outlines what is written on my work order by the service department. While writing your paper, your argument should clearly delineate the vehicles (reduced) use, value and safety. This may be different in your state. This is a long post and I apologize.
California Dispute Settlement Program
P.O. Box 561109
Dallas, TX 75356-1109
Dear Sir or Madam:
This letter is to delineate the problem that significantly reduces the use, value and safety of our 2004 V6 AWD Toyota Highlander (VIN# XXXXXXXXXXX). The vehicle consistently demonstrates a significant lull when the gas pedal is pushed and when the vehicle responds. On several occasions, the delay in acceleration was substantial enough in that it felt as if the vehicle had stalled. We currently own (original owner) a 1995 V6 Toyota Camry and previously owned a 1997 V6 Toyota 4Runner. We have never experienced this type of problem with any of our Toyota vehicles.
· Use – The consistent hesitation makes it challenging to accelerate to the flow of traffic when merging or changing lanes. Although the Toyota Highlander is a V6, the performance is less than one would expect from a four cylinder.
· Value – Toyota has acknowledged, in writing, the delayed acceleration and the fact there is no repair at this time. Since work orders confirm the defect, a potential buyer would either not buy the vehicle or purchase it at a below the current market value.
· Safety – The significant hesitation has, on several occasions, dangerously prevented the vehicle to properly merge into traffic. This has lead to nearly being rear-ended. Because of the safety issue, we have changed our driving habits in order to compensate for the vehicle’s lack of performance.
On August 4, 2004, I test drove the vehicle with the Service Advisor, [NAME], at [DEALERSHIP], CA. During our test drive, I (the driver) pointed out how the vehicle generally hesitates. In addition I showed how the vehicle feels as if it had stalled when slowing then accelerating. He confirmed this on the attached work order/invoice #XXXXX. Please note that Mr. [NAME] did not test drive the vehicle himself. Furthermore, on the same day, the Toyota Customer Relations Manager, [NAME], test-drove our vehicle. During the test drive, she also concurred that there was a delay in accelerations. This was especially noted when she merged into traffic. Her co-worker, [NAME], was also in the vehicle at the time.
On August 10, 2004 I test-drove the vehicle with the Toyota District Service & Parts Manager, [NAME]. Prior to our test drive, he was already aware of the delay. I drove the vehicle and pointed out the consistent delay in acceleration. He agreed that there was a delay and that Toyota was aware of the problem, however, they do not have a way of repairing it. Mr. [NAME] declined to test-drive our vehicle because he was confident that the problem existed. Please see attached work order/invoice #XXXX that confirms the hesitation from the factory representative.
Although I have enjoyed our Highlander for eight months, the delayed acceleration or hesitation has become unbearable. Search the board and you will find others who experience the same problem. I finally took it in to the dealership to see what they can do. I was surprised when they acknowledged that there is a hesitation! However, it is a design issue since other Highlanders do it. Below is what is delineated on my work order.
Concern: Customer states vehicle hesitates on acceleration check and advise.
Cause: Verified concern with customer
Correction: Delay response verified with customer road test. Compared with STK ##### compared the same.
Since there is no way to repair the vehicle, service department gives my Toyotas phone number to start the arbitration process. This took me to a meeting with the district service and parts manager from Toyota. I thought he was very nice and professional. He acknowledges that this problem exists with the Highlander and Solara. Toyota engineers are at the beginning stages of finding a way to rectify the issue. However, he did not know how far along in the process they are in finding a solution. Below is his write up on the work order from him:
Concern: Customer states vehicle has hesitation or delayed acceleration while driving.
Correction: Had factory rep inspect – see notes
Tech Notes: Test drove vehicle with customer; there is a hesitation while accelerating. Advised that Toyota is aware of complaint. Advised that dealership will complete an MDT report including their feeling.
They will not acknowledge that it is a design defect or a safety issue. Therefore, any manufacture buy back will have to be ordered through arbitration. Today, I applied for arbitration.
I try not to be too materialistic and dwell over things that really have no meaning to my life. However, when you pay over $30k for a vehicle and you have no recourse, it can be upsetting. Anyway, I thought I would post this to help others who may need the info.
Below is some important information I left out from my original post:
My HL is a 2004 V6 AWD with approx. 9k miles on it. The factory rep said it applies to those vehicles with “fly” or “fly wire” acceleration. I cannot recall the exact verbiage he said (I will need to know for arbitration).
Test: Drive 30/40 miles an hour and imagine a large truck pulling in front of you. You slow down quickly to about 10-15 miles an hour. While slowing down you look over your shoulder to see it the lane is clear to go around the truck. You have a nice gap to accelerate into in the next lane and you “punch” the gas to shoot the gap. I will always get a very significant delay while doing it. Please note that you do not need to floor it. Another test is just imaging merging onto traffic.
On several occasions I thought my vehicle would stall. I can create the delay at anytime, however, the severity of it is hard to create. I feel it is a very serious safety issue. I have seen the delay the near two second mark.
Hope this helps.
#1757 of 5330 Engine braking....
Sep 14, 2004 (7:29 am)
The loss of engine braking due to transmission mode goes all the way back to the 01 AWD RX300. I took it for granted that it had to do with preventing loss of control with FWD. Caddy did it be using an over-running clutch.
#1758 of 5330 Re: Computer... [wwest]
Sep 14, 2004 (10:40 am)
I have 2001 FWD V6. No hesitation pulling away from a standing stop and turning. Normal transmission shift. Hesitation present only when slowing down the vehicle and then trying to accelerate and when stearing returns to neutral as I exit the turn. Just my observation. Also hesitation is minimized switching over-drive off or engaging snow mode.
#1759 of 5330 THink about this...
Sep 14, 2004 (12:30 pm)
At just what speed, as you slow to a stop, would you normally push the clutch pedal in with a manual transmission. And now is it at approximately the same speed that you feel the "slingshot" effect as you lose engine braking?
#1760 of 5330 Dull clunking thud in rear of HL
Sep 15, 2004 (8:35 pm)
My 2004 HL V6 AWD recently commenced a thudding flutter sound after driving for a few minutes, when going over bumps. This "dudududud" sound comes from under the tail end of the car. At first I thought the spare tire was loose. I tightened that, noise persists. Jack and tool kit tight. Opened up the floor storage area and third seat system looking for loose items, nothing found. Spare tire shroud seemed sloppy, packed off with rag to stop flutter, no effect. Removed the plastic center spare tire shroud "disc" and still noise persists. The swivvel joint in the tailpipe seems sloppy though studs are tight, rubber hangers are intact, but slop is allowing the rear resonator to flop against the rear bumper cover. Is this the cause??? I guess I'm headed to the dealer. Anyone had this noise?
#1761 of 5330 Re: Qualified for Arbitration! [varg]
Sep 16, 2004 (7:48 am)
'Fly By Wire" is a term used to describe the operation of the accelerator by "digital" or "computer" controls as opposed to direct mechanical linkage.
I took my 04 V6 HL to the service dept today and they will acknowledge the "operability" of this trans and that other people have complained about it - but according to him, only a small percentage. Then I drove one of his new limiteds and it manifested the exact same symptoms. This customer board clearly confirms that this is indeed a safety design issue. Apparently, the dealers have not been given a fix for this problem (although they won't call it that).
He also said the 4Runner has the same "fly by wire" design. My wife bought an 04 4Runner last year and it shifts fine (obviously different drivetrain but same control methodology).
So, I got the appropriate doc from the service dept. indicating it "performs as designed" and next step will be to bring my safety concerns to Toyota and open a case with them.
The service mgr also said this drive train config is in the Camry and Lexus RX300. But, (according to him) not many people (as a percentage of the total) are voicing their concerns.
Toyota is big business. They will try to not expend resources on this problem until they become convinced of the safety issues. They will not be convinced until enough customers speak up! I hope people don't have to start reporting accidents to get their attention. It would be interesting to know if HL/Camry/RX300 accidents can already be attributed to this issue. I wonder how this could be investigated?
Finally, in reference to an earlier post if I wanted to drive a manual transmission, I would have bought one. At least I would know what to expect. The behavior of this config is not always predictable or safe.